Kinwood Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): Grow a Relationship With Your Farmer & Your Food
Whether you’re a long time member or completely new to the idea of a CSA, there’s lots to learn about the program. So let's dig right in to the details of our produce CSA.
What is a CSA?
CSA stands for “community supported agriculture”, and is a method of securing a food relationship directly between the farmer and the consumer. Although there are many CSA formats, they all center around the community consumers supporting the farm in a more engaging way.
CSAs allow educated eaters to learn more about their food, while supporting a local, small farm in their community, providing them with food security. The programs typically request a percentage of the year's costs up front, hedging the farmer from having to take out large loans and providing them with financial security. In return, the consumer receives a proportionate share of the farmer's efforts.
Our CSA customers are the lifeblood of our farm and, as such, we offer them special perks.
Farm Access & Education
Our CSA customers are welcomed to the farm to help with everything that goes into making their produce. This allows families to not only gain education on their food system, but to also learn valuable skills.
VIP Product, Sales & Specials
Our CSA customers are alerted first to deals, extras for sale, or any "freebies." Are you hoping to find 20 lbs of organic tomato seconds for your grandma's tomato sauce recipe this year? We got you!
Recipes & Meal Planning:
Each Sunday before the Friday delivery, we send out an email of what to expect in that week's share per size. We also include a recipe for every item, so that none goes to waste. This is actually the number one complaint of CSA users - "I never know what to do with some of the produce and I end up throwing it away!" We make sure you know how to use everything.
We also invite our customers to engage with the process - is there a certain variety of green beans your father always planted that you'd love to enjoy again? Let us know, and we will plant it!
Reduce Your Footprint
As much as possible, we focus on limiting plastics, and opting for reusable materials.
The Kinwood CSA Community Finally, we offer a private group where our customers can share recipes, tips, ideas, and questions! We also share weekly videos of what's going on in the garden, or what exactly is that leafy looking broccoli...? This group is a treasure trove of fresh ideas to use your produce.
What Makes Kinwood Different?
Our family’s farming practices are "regenerative," which is a bit of a new term. Regenerative farming focuses on rejuvenating the top soil, so that we have rich, fertile soil that is full of its natural microorganisms.
Sadly, even organic farming uses harsh fertilizers and pesticides frequently that kill plant life, along with tilling practices to turn their soil and eliminate weeds. . Unfortunately, these processes kill the earthworms, fungi networks, nematodes and other microorganisms which are critical to support plant life and mineral absorption. Tilling is destroying top soils, even if it's used in an organic setting.
We are dedicated to no-till practices in our garden. This does require extra time, extra hand work, and more weeding. But we believe this is what it takes to produce food that truly heals the body and land.
In addition to having a no-till garden, we allow the livestock to naturally graze the land in controlled paddocks so that manure is spread out evenly, and grazed plants are not over grazed, killing root systems and also eroding the soil.
No chemical fertilizers are used at our farm, and we rarely use an organic-approved insecticide in case of emergency. For example, we did use an organic insecticide to limit hornworms on our tomatoes and potato plants twice last year. Most organic farms spray once a week as a preventative. As a result, a bug may nibble on a cabbage leaf or two, and we just call that sharing. We aren't certified organic, simply because of the added cost and work, and because it doesn't demonstrate our higher standards.
We have three different portion sizes available:
Tiny: Includes 3-5 items and is perfect for seniors or a single person
Half: Includes 5-7 items and supplies enough produce for sides for a small omnivore family
Full: A standard size which includes 7-10 items (or more) per week, and can provide produce for a large omnivore family, or a small vegetarian family.
We offer CSA pick up on the farm, or on our delivery routes to Geneseo, Sterling/Rock Falls, Dixon, DeKalb, Elburn, Wheaton, and Elmhurst.
You can opt for monthly, every other week (biweekly) or weekly CSA delivery.
A portion of the season's cost are due when reserving, like a deposit. This allows us to buy seeds, equipment, and labor before the first CSA share arrives in June (and we purchase the seeds in January, start seeds indoors in February, and start working the ground in March). You then pay weekly until the share is paid in full (which leaves the last 5 weeks without payments, due to the initial deposit.
You will find we have the least expensive deposit around. We calculated a cost that is the minimum we need to get the season started - and we want above all things real food to be accessible to all. If you have an issue paying a deposit, please let us know, and we will certainly work to include you in the CSA.
On that note, there are some wonderful options for volunteering and work trade in CSAs. You can trade hours of work on the farm (gaining calories and vitamin D!) for produce as often as you'd like! A full share translates into 2-3 hours of garden work. The experience of pulling your food out of the ground is deeply rewarding, and we love having help on the farm! Let us know if you are interested in a work trade CSA.
The traditional summer CSA runs from mid-June through mid-October. We then offer a fall CSA, which is typically four weeks after our summer CSA from mid-October to Thanksgiving. This year, we offered a Thanksgiving Meal Kit, and we hope to do that again! There is also a winter CSA, which is a real adventure. This lasts for most of the rest of the year, outside of mid-January through February when most plants are simply too chilly to mature.
I wanted to quickly touch on what we are focusing on this year. This season, I am focusing on growing more colorful, high-antioxidant superfoods, fruits like ground cherries and heirloom strawberries, and flowers! We will be offering a flower CSA, which will be planted to help reduce pests amongst our vegetables. I am extremely excited about that. I also added a one or two item add-on for the CSA, which can be opted for per delivery or an entire CSA season. This would give you a bulk amount of one item, say tomatoes or potatoes, and is ideal for those of you who are canners, have big families, or aspiring chefs.
Finally, I would like to leave you with some of our last season's customer's reviews:
"I love that the vegetables are relatively clean and not too dirty. It takes less time to process then the other CSA veggies I have had in past."
"Very pleased with the produce. Love the selection and that my kids get a chance to experience different types of vegetables. I really like that you include recipe ideas, as it helps with working with produce I’m not familiar with. I also like when you include homemade sauces."
Please feel free to contact us with any questions. To see all of our CSA offerings, check here.
It is such a blessing to offer produce as close to nature's cycle as possible: in the late fall, our livestock graze the garden area, nibbling on any leftover produce and forbs (okay, weeds!), and leaving their rich fertilizer for next spring. Over the winter, the composting manure, plant material from last year's garden, and wood chips create the fertile soil in which our no-till produce thrives. Spring is just around the corner -- and writing this makes me so very excited for this coming season!
We hope to see you out on the farm this year!